LX THE TIMURID MONARCHS 223 -Baber.—No history of Persia would be complete without some account of Zahir-u-Din Mohamed, famous by his surname Baber, the " Tiger," son of Omar Shaykh Mirza and grandson of Abu Said. This conqueror of India was born in A.H. 888 (1483) and succeeded to his father's princedom of Ferghana when only in his twelfth year. His inheritance was disputed by his two uncles, who, however, after some negotiations retired, and in A.H. 903 (1497) the boy-king took advantage'of the pre- vailing anarchy and marched on Samarcand, of which he obtained possession. We readl how deeply he admired the great mosque and the palaces set in gardens with their beautiful tiles and stately avenues of elms, poplars, and plane-trees ; the delicious melons and plums also won his approval. Treachery at home robbed him of the fruits of victory, and he was for a while deserted by his troops. But he raised a fresh army, and in A.H. 906 (1550) again captured Samarcand. Being afterwards de- feated by Mohamed Shaybani, he had to swim the River Kohik to save his life, and, retreating on Samarcand, he was blockaded there by the victor and in the end forced to retire from Transoxiana. It happened at this time that Kabul was in a state of anarchy, its governor (who was Baber's uncle) having died, and the nobles having seized upon the government. Baber made a bold bid for the derelict state, and won it in A.H. 909 (1503). Two years later he carried out the first of his famous expeditions into India, which culmi- nated in the founding of the mighty dynasty of the Moghuls. The Literary and Scientific Attainments of the Timurid Dynasty.—The dynasty of Tamerlane, which lasted for close on a century and a half, included many members who earned literary distinction. Tamerlane himself, in my opinion, wrote the Memoirs and Institutes that bear his name, and his literary talents were inherited by Shah Rukh, himself a poet of no mean order. His son, Ulugh Beg the Scientist, gave to the Turks a place in literature 1 Vide Baber's Memoirs, by W. Erskine, 1826; also a later edition by Lt.-Col. F. G. Talbot, D.S.O., in 1909. There is no doubt as to the genuineness of this delightful autobiography.